My First "Neighborhood House Party"
As a very young faculty wife with two babies in two years, I was more involved with the second diaper pail disappearing than I was with meetings we hosted for graduate students from various disciplines as they organized themselves against the Vietnam War. The 1960s.
It wasn't until a couple decades later, divorced and living in the Washington, D.C. area that I felt the call to march for real. The Million Mom March was on Mother's Day that year. When asked by my adult daughters what I would like to do that day I asked that we all go march for CHOICE. All decked out in white like everyone else on the Metro, we spent the day on the Mall looking around at the women and the signs they held feeling like this was a very big extraordinary party knowing, without saying, we felt at home.
I had my first "political" home celebration the day Clinton was inaugurated -- red, white and blue streamers and homemade patriotic cookies. I just graduated with a master's degree in Social Work and worked in the community as a case manager on the front lines trying to find a place to live for homeless men and women in the richest, most well-educated county in the country -- Montgomery County -- I experienced Reagan's depletion of affordable housing by 80 percent during his eight years in office first hand.
The inauguration of Democrat Bill Clinton needed to be celebrated.
At the very end of George Bush's years I moved to Denver to be near my youngest daughter, her husband, and their two delicious daughters. I got to Denver in time that summer of 2008 to get a ticket for the Convention in Coors Field at which Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination. As I looked down the row of the seats way up in section H, no face the same color or shape, I felt I was at a party of seventy thousand people each of whom I knew I would like. The energy that day is only to be found in the particles. And unforgettable.
What a feeling that was.
Not since JFK had I felt that sense of hope, hopefulness.
It is 2012.
I am now 70.
I hosted my first "neighborhood house party" here in Denver recently and had a lovely conversation with the two wonderful young women, graduated high school seniors, spending this summer fully dedicated to the gritty ground work of grass roots campaigning. It's just what it sounds like. Down to the roots with bare hands bringing sign posts and stickers and lists for emails and copies of position papers even a red-white-and-blue pinwheel turning my kitchen and living room into the campaign headquarters of the neighborhood that night. I took pictures as it unfolded.
Turns out the two women who led the meeting and know the local political system have been doing this for years, are experienced and articulate, and lovely and strong beyond imagination so I learned a lot about how much I don't know and what it takes, and how hard they work and how much they know, and that anything at all one can or wishes to do is helpful. Just offering my house for meetings is helpful and fills a need.
Every single piece of cheese and bottle of wine donated to these occasions means something.
"Participating" does really and truly mean "do what you wish, do what you can". Give.
In whatever form is comfortable.
It will be appreciated.
You will feel good.
And Obama must win.